The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

300 wild birds confiscated from Gozo property earlier this month – BirdLife Malta

Friday, 24 September 2021, 11:28 Last update: about 30 days ago

Earlier this month, Gozo Police assisted by Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) officers confiscated around 300 wild finches from a Gozo property after these were possibly smuggled into the country from Italy to be used as live decoys for illegal bird trapping, BirdLife Malta said.

"Probably trapped illegally in Italy, these birds were destined to be sold amongst local trappers and from different pet shops. The confiscated birds included five different species: European Serin, European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet and Common Chaffinch, the majority of which were juvenile birds, kept in very poor conditions, crammed in tiny cages. All birds were handed over to BirdLife Malta for rehabilitation, ringing and release following clearance and treatment by vets."

BirdLife Malta said: "The bust follows an invite from WBRU itself to trappers to apply for another season under the so-called 'research derogation' on finches - a derogation which has already proven to be a smokescreen to the continued illegal trapping of wild finches, and which is the subject of an Infringement Procedure initiated by the European Commission against Malta. The ORNIS Committee is expected to formally decide on this year's derogation on the 13th of October. Trapping of such wild birds creates a huge demand for live decoy birds and illegal smugglers in networks between Italy and Malta oblige to the demand created by the derogation itself."


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